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Graphic design student begins Netflix internship

By: Asia Miller

A School of Journalism & Graphic Design student at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University will be putting his skills to the test in an exacting professional environment. Elijah Rutland, a third-year graphic design student and Macon, Georgia native, starts a prestigious, pre-production animation internship at Warner Bros in California today.

Rutland will lend his talents to the new Netflix show “Green Eggs and Ham,” based on the popular children’s book by Dr. Seuss. He is excited to work on animation that a new generation of kids will enjoy.

Rutland is the creator of the viral “black Rolf” meme that took off on the internet last year. The meme garnered press coverage and spawned numerous spinoffs. (Link: He is also the owner of a business called Fix My Soles that creates custom artwork on footwear, keeping his artistic talents on the move in the real world.

Elijah Rutland

The School of Journalism and Graphic Communication student says he’s not entirely self-taught. Rutland credits courses such as color theory, taught at his school, as one of the most important in his development.

“GRA 1433 helped my efficiency in the little things that can improve my workflow,” he said. “But the whole experience in ‘J- school’ makes you really resilient, just because the professors are tough and encouraging at the same time. Many SJGC professors, including Professor Anosh Gill, gave me more of a solid foundation.”

Rutland focuses on black history and empowerment in his artwork, using the pencil to express his personal struggles. He said that even in his role as an intern, he would push for more representation of people of color on screen.

“People who may not be in the best position, can hope for something more,” he said. “Representation is important because it allows viewers to put themselves into shoes they may not otherwise feel like they can fill.”

Dean Michelle Ferrier said that Rutland has continued to work at his talents, using his classwork, his company and his artwork to make his mark in the world of animation. “It’s that diligence and dedication to practicing his passion that has resulted in these opportunities,” Ferrier said. “He has leveraged social media and used persistence to get in the door.”

As for students looking to land their dream internship, Rutland has a small word of advice.

“Keep applying and be confident in your abilities,” Rutland said. “I’ve spent countless hours searching for internships, filling out applications, editing my resume, doing phone interviews and up until this point all I heard was no,” Rutland said on his Facebook page. “It even got to the point where I almost didn’t apply for this animation internship that I received because I felt unqualified. But the same day I was on Facebook and saw a post that said ‘God doesn’t always call the qualified, he qualifies the called,’ and that post changed my whole perspective.”

Rutland used this J-School produced video in many internship applications on his road to landing the Netflix gig